With summer in full swing and the temperatures rising, it’s important that you are able to recognise the signs of heatstroke in your dog. When humans get too hot they are able to produce sweat in order to cool themselves down. Dogs do not have this ability. Dogs pant to cool themselves down and being unable to do this cause their body temperature to rise. Heatstroke can be very serious and can even be fatal in extreme cases. Some dogs are more likely to suffer with heatstroke than others. For example, dogs with very thick coats or dogs that are very young or very old. Certain types of medication can also alter how your dog may be effected by the heat so it’s always a good idea to read the instructions or ask your veterinarian.
Overheating while exercising is the most common cause of heatstroke. It’s recommended that you exercise your dog in the early morning or late evening when the weather is at its coolest to try and avoid this. Your dog may also get too hot just sitting in the sun or a hot area for too long without sufficient access to shade or water. Leaving a dog in a hot car can also cause heatstroke.
There are several key signs to look out for when it comes to heatstroke. Excessive, heavy panting is the principal one as this is your dog’s main line of defence when it comes to cooling down. Drooling and reddened gums are also common symptoms of heatstroke. Your dog may become drowsy, lethargic or even collapse if they become too hot. They may also experience vomiting or diarrhoea and in severe cases, they may also have a seizure. If left unchecked, heatstroke can cause unseen symptoms too which can be extremely dangerous. These include blood clots, kidney failure, internal bleeding and swelling of the brain.
If you think your dog may be suffering from heatstroke it is important that you bring their body temperate down gradually and call your veterinarian. Never splash or soak your dog in icy water or give them iced water to drink. The cold may cause them to go into shock. Instead, provide cool water for them to drink in small amounts without forcing them. Get them to lie on a damp blanket or place a damp towel on top of them to bring their body temperature down. Alternatively, you could use a fan to blow cold air in their direction.
If treated quickly, your dog should make a full recovery but should be monitored for a day or two to check there are no further signs of illness.
Fri Jul 16 2021